Back when you could say “trade show” without immediately thinking “super-spreader event,” Aprilia debuted the RS 660 and sportbike lovers went wild. While the trade show (EICMA 2018) was not that long ago in the grand scheme of things, if you’ve been wading through this pandemic, hoping for word of the parallel-twin sportbike’s price, it’s seemed like eons ago. Now, the fine folks from Noale, Italy, bring us good news: the Aprilia RS 660 will cost $11,299 for the Aprilia-appropriate Apex Black and Lava Red color schemes that you’ve come to know and love.
For 200 bucks extra, you can have your RS in flashy Acid Gold. Aprilia says it “suitably reflects the dynamic, young character of the RS 660.” So there you go.
Aprilia also took the time in its press release to enumerate a few available accessories. Often, this is where an OEM boasts about things like its “aggressively styled tank protector” and “speed-worthy key chain,” but Aprilia is actually introducing some thoughtful add-ons applicable to the bike’s wide-ranging use-cases.
For track enthusiasts, there’s a race-only Akrapovič full-exhaust that comes with an ECU flash. There’s also a software upgrade that enables GP-shift and a pit lane limiter. For road riders, there’s a homologated Akra full exhaust, a saddlebag, and comfort seat with gel inserts. Aprilia is even offering a larger fairing for road and track use.
Even the accessories hint at our reasons for being so excited. Here’s a purebred sportbike that’s equipped with top-shelf electronics managed by a six-axis IMU, Brembo radial-mount brakes, and adjustable suspension components. It has a 100-hp (claimed) parallel-twin derived from Aprilia’s epic V-4, and a no-nonsense aluminum frame. Oh, and it has that aerodynamic “double fairing” thing that’s probably less aesthetically divisive than winglets (there’s no word yet on how much downforce it produces).
In addition to shaping up to be a proper track weapon, the humane engineers in Noale endowed the RS 660 with ergonomics that are, well, ergonomic for human-shaped people who spend most of their time riding on the road, rather than hunched in a full tuck zipping down Silverstone Curcuit’s Hangar Straight. The RS features above-the-triple-clamp bars, low-ish footpegs, and a seat that Aprilia swears up and down is comfortable.
If you’re not a confirmed sportbike nut, the Aprilia’s pricing is still good news. As evidenced by the the RS 660′s elongated swingarm mounting lugs (intended to accommodate different swingarm angles), the compact twin-cylinder was designed from the outset to be the basis for a family of bikes which we now know will include the Tuono and Taureg, the latter of which will put Aprilia in the thick of things in the highly competitive middleweight ADV arena.
(CAPTION)-[2021-aprilia-rs-660-first-look-pricing-4]: Who among us wouldn’t want to be doing this right now?
By extending the model family, Aprilia was able to keep tooling costs lower than if it were producing specialized casting dies for just a single model. By spreading the costs across several models, Aprilia can pass its savings on to enthusiasts. Thus the RS 660′s $11,300 price tag.
For reference, the Yamaha YZF-R6, which doesn’t have nearly as sophisticated of an electronics package, has an MSRP of $12,199. Aprilia’s countrymen from Borgo Panigale don’t sell a sportbike of any kind for under $13,000: the Ducati Panigale V2 costs $16,495 while the SuperSport starts at $13,095. While the Kawasaki Ninja 650 has a parallel-twin engine of a similar size, its $7,599 price tag is a clue that it has little in common with RS 660 in every other regard. As unorthodox as it sounds, the RS 660′s closest competition may be something like the KTM 890 Duke R, which retails for $11,699. But it has a larger-capacity engine and no fairing—not exactly direct competition then.
Clearly, the production sportbike world continues to evolve. OEMs are offering bikes with capacities that don’t align with racing classes. Some updated 600cc supersport machines look like they’ll only be sold in Japan and select Asian markets for homologation purposes (see 2021 Honda CBR600RR).
The RS 660 is a sign of the sportbike times—and of things to come. The future looks bright. Especially bright when it’s Acid Gold.